What a difference a year makes!
The Isle of Man Bank Man’s league springs into life tonight (7th April) and the much anticipated first set of fixtures will pose as many questions as they give answers. With the Isle of Man’s probable inclusion in the full county championship from next season this will be one of exploration and innovation with the men’s game moving into uncharted waters for the first time. This is an exciting time for our sport, and the winds of change are definitely at full force with more changes in personnel than usual amongst the top team.
Last season ended with a major change as Marown A completed an historic double, winning both the league title and much coveted Rayner shield, to leave perennial champions Onchan A without a trophy for the first time in over a decade. Onchan will be a wounded animal intent on fighting their way out of the corner that they find themselves trapped in to prove that the are still the major force in the Manx game.
Marown, fresh from their trip to the world club championship, have the unenviable task of starting their campaign away to South Ramsey A. Whilst Marown have the ninth man of confidence on their side South have a realistic shot a the title and former Island Champion Gary Conwell is just one of a string of new players to strengthen their ranks. South will want to lay down a marker tonight and the champions will need to be right on their game to leave with points.
Onchan A face what, on paper, looks like a much easier trip to Castletown B but as the ‘Crofters’ showed them last year this game isn’t played on paper and they will be looking to stun the title favourites once again this term. Gary Conwell’s departure has made way for Matthew Keggen to join Onchan and he will be hoping to start with a bang.
Castletown A are always a force to be reckoned with in the local game and whilst they can challenge for top honours it will be interesting to see how this fantastic club copes with three teams in the top tier. Even with a rule change allowing players to move between teams in the same division, I still think this may hamper their title ambitions.
I don’t know what will happen this season, but with 4 new teams joining the leagues, and the new Island adventures looming on the horizon I know it will be a ground breaking one with more twists and turns than can ever be imagined and the only certainty is that the sport of crown green bowls will be the winner.
Pos Div 1 Div 2 Div 3
1 Onchan A Nobles Mixed A South Ramsey B
2 South Ramsey A Onchan B Marown B
3 Marown A Port St Mary B South Ramsey C
Rel Castletown C Finch Hill B
Rel Port Erin A Castletown D